From its incorporation in 1847 in Wisconsin Territory to its first run in 1851-twenty miles between Milwaukee and Waukesha-to its later position of far-flung power, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company had a vivid history. By 1948, the Milwaukee Road had more than 40,000 employees and maintained more than 10,000 miles of line in twelve states from Indiana to Washington. Also in 1948, August Derleth's popular and well-crafted corporate history celebrated the strength and status of this mighty carrier. On February 19, 1985, the railroad became a subsidiary of Soo Line Corporation and its identity vanished overnight. Nonetheless, it remains a romantic memory, and Derleth's book remains the only complete history of this innovative and dynamic railroad.
August Derleth (1909-1971) published more than 150 books of all genres, including such sagas as Wind over Wisconsin, the Judge Peck mysteries, and numerous tales of horror, fantasy, and the supernatural. Railraod historian H. Roger Grant is professor of history at Clemson University; his introduction to this edition of The Milwaukee Road provides the story of the book's original publication and a short history of the Milwaukee after 1948.